Aloof aims to shine a light on the best brands and companies operating in the independent market right now, from all over the world. Those under the radar of the wider consciousness but with great stories to tell and a unique perspective on the nuts and bolts of building a brand.
At some point, in some time in our lives, most of us have had a go at up-cycling. Whether that's giving a ratty old pair of shoes a new lease of life with a doodle, or chopping up some jeans to make some very fetching shorts. For better or for worse, we've all been there. We can't think of anyone who repurposes clothing better than we've seen Peter do it though, pivoting from his background in Graphic Design to become a fully fledged textile wizard in a matter of lockdown months. With our attention grabbed by his series of Trapper Hats, we had to give Peter a shout to find out more.
Aloof Studio (AS): Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do?
Peter Desgn (PD): Hello, I’m Peter and I’m a designer currently working in London. I do a little bit of everything but I'm mostly working with textiles at the moment.
AS: Talk us through your past; from your social media it looks like you came into design from a graphics background?
PD: Yeah, I’ve just graduated from Kingston School of Art where I was studying graphic design. Up until about a few months ago, I thought that was what I wanted to do. Towards the end of my last year at Uni, I got really into screen printing which led me to start designing my own clothes. However, I didn’t like that I had to bulk buy blank garments to print on, so during lockdown I decided to learn how to use a sewing machine, which allows me to have full control of garment production process.
AS: The term bootleg is widely thrown about and refers to homage products not produced by the company, but still bearing their branding or other signatures. With your work made from official product, would you consider yourself to be a bootlegger or something else entirely?
PD: I wouldn’t say I consider myself a bootlegger, but some of my practise definitely has strong ties with that culture. I feel like up-cycling and bootlegging are sometimes difficult to differentiate between but I guess because I use the products themselves rather than just the branding or design, that puts me more in the up-cycling side of things.
AS: You work exclusively with up-cycling, responsibly sourcing all the fabrics that make into your products. How does the process of sourcing come about? Are you searching for products before you have ideas for something or do you look for, say a jacket, that would work for a concept you’re already running with?
PD: So with sourcing, I’m basically always on ebay and depop searching random stuff, just seeing if anything cool comes up! If it does, I'll buy it and then hold on to it until the right time comes! The ideas seem to naturally flow from one thing to the next for me. I try to only make things that I really want to see exist, and I have a back log of ideas for stuff yet to be released which takes the pressure off of coming up with new ideas.
AS: When we see your series of Trapper hats, we draw parallels between them and Kabuto’s, the helmets worn by ancient Japanese warriors, and then later the Samurai. What are your personal reference points on the hats? Are we missing the mark totally?
PD: I love when people compare them to Kabuto's! I think that's so sick, but I have to say it wasn’t something I had planned. When I was making the Maharishi Trappers, I wanted to make them special so I designed them to allow the wearer to stand the flaps up like horns and it ended up resembling a samurai helmet, it's definitely a happy accident. As far as references, Russian Ushanka's were a big one as well as a ton of military surplus caps.
AS: The hats also show a real attention to construction and craftsmanship. How did you pick up the skills necessary to cut the patterns and put them all together? Are you working in design outside of your personal projects?
PD: Thank you, I appreciate that! As I said, most of my sewing and pattern making skills were learnt over the second lockdown, I’m still learning, so the stitching isn’t always perfect but I just embrace that. I don’t want people to think these hats were made in some factory, I want them to know that they were made by hand. I do a little freelance graphic design work on the side but most of the time it's all focused on my personal practice.
AS; Two of your previous commissions were for a Stone Island and a Bape Trapper. Is there a fabric you’d love to work with but haven’t yet had the chance?
PD: I’m not sure to be honest, I really enjoyed working on the Stone Island one because the fabrics they use to make garments are just insane and like no other, so I guess some more of that would be cool!
AS: Your attention at the moment seems to be solely on your series of Trapper hats. With T-Shirts and Trousers in the back catalogue, there are signs that you make something for a while and then move onto the next project. Is that the case? Does each project stand on it’s own?
PD: Yeah, that’s basically it! I’m starting to move away from the trappers as it’s getting warming here in the UK, so naturally I'm more interested in Spring/Summer wear. I've got some big ideas for six panel caps that I’m really excited for.
AS: Are there are people doing amazing things that you think our audience should find out more about? Any hidden gems people are yet to uncover?
PD: Yeah! Check out:
@Boazcompetitive the skate homies,
@hammysound for the hardest art and merch,
@dozerz.diaryz for up-cycling goodness,
@Baileywillsxo the punk-rap extraordinaire and
@minty.joe the screen print lord
AS: What should we expect to see from you in the near future?
PD: I’m going to be dropping some caps very soon, then I want to start integrating my artwork into the brand as well as some more clothing. I’m feeling really good about the future and super thankful for the support Ive had so far!